Live Preview: Catching up with pop/rocker Jeremiah Cosner; opens for Brent James and the Contraband at Indianapolis’ Rathskeller on Friday night

With the release of a four-song EP of original songs called Hold Steady in December of 2010, Indiana’s Jeremiah Cosner was able to leap forward musically with an album recorded at the Sound Kitchen in Nashville, Tennessee, and filled of robust-sounding Black Crowes/Rolling Stones/Faces rock.

Hoosier-based Cosner has shed his band, and has been playing solo shows. And maybe the only thing between some deserved notice by American rock fans here in Indiana is more gigs.

His opening slot at the Rathskeller on Friday night with the Nashville-via-Michigan rock/pop of Brent James and the Contraband is a good match, pairing him with James, whose Moment of Silence album rocks with a Train/Why Store sound.

“I am amped about showcasing (with) Brent James & the Contraband,” he says, noting it’s a reunion of sorts for him and the band. “The lead guitar player (Mike P.) for the band produced and played lead on Hold Steady. I gave him the nickname “The Wizard.”

The 2007 IU School of Music grad says he has been writing for a new record (or two), contributed a charity song called “Reflection in the Water”, the songs have been used in a movie called “The Big Idea”, and Cosner has a wild idea to build a studio in a trailer.

Rockforward: When have you been writing new music?
Jeremiah Cosner: All day, every day. I now have enough material for three to four full length records. Acoustic and organic is my favorite way to write, and I am excited to record the new material.

Rockforward: Hold Steady has a Stones-like vibe. How have those four songs helped your career?
JC: The Hold Steady EP was recorded in Nashville at the Sound Kitchen. I have found releasing singles via iTunes is beneficial. “Money Maker” and “Lipstick & Cigarettes” have both been spun on the radio locally.  Recently, I have written (music) for the Children’s Leukemia Foundation. Doing this type of work and writing has allowed me to become an affiliate with SESAC and start my own publishing company, Baby Blue Café.

Rockforward: How has Indy been treating you?  What are the differences you feel and see when you venture outside the Indy to play?
JC: Indy is great (but) traveling is hands down my favorite thing to do, so anytime I get the chance to play in another city I take full advantage. Nashville is my favorite place to play simply because the city is a melting pot of anything that has to do with music and has allowed for my network to grow tremendously. When I venture out of Indy I realize how many other events and organizations are built around working with independent performing artists to gain exposure. I was fortunate enough to get involved with Music City Circus (in Nashville) and showcased with other talented artists at Nashville’s 12th and Porter. That gig led to meeting and greeting new friends who introduced me to the Sound Kitchen to record Hold Steady.

Rockforward: How have you been touring? Band or solo?
JC: I have not toured with a full band since 2010. Traveling as a solo act is more rewarding and easier as I journey out. I have a revolving door of very talented musicians who lend a helping hand when I need it. All of us share one musical influence: 70’s rock and artists like Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, and the Rolling Stones.

Rockforward: What have you been listening to? What bands should we all turn up to 11?
JC: Recently I have been listening to Bachman Turner Overdrive, Elvis Costello, and The Marshall Tucker Band. But anymore, I get a kick out of finding Tom Jones records or some good Neil Young. Current bands that flip my switch are The Alabama Shakes, Kasabian, and The Band of Skulls.

Rockforward: Future plans that we’d find interesting?
JC: A few talented people and I have plans to build a studio within a Streamline Trailer that will sit on a few acres of land down south. This is where we want to be as creative as possible and pump out songs, movies, ideas, and other productions. Keep an eye out for a new bluesy rock record I plan on cutting by the end of 2012.

VIDEO: Jeremiah Cosner and the Concrete Sailors

VIDEO: Brent James and the Contraband

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Today’s Rock Rewind: Springsteen signed to Columbia 40 years ago

Bruce Springsteen signed a record deal on June 9, 1972.  Forty years ago.  And he is still with the same record company. 

For all of the things that Springsteen is noted for (his songwriting, The E Street band, his marathon, gospel-fervor rock and roll show, his ass on the cover of Born in the USA), one that never gets talked about is his long relationship with one (albeit owned now by Sony, since 1988) record label – a tenure nearly unheard of in 2012. 

John Hammond famously “found” Bruce and had Springsteen play for him in the office, and set up a quick showcase gig at the Gaslight Club in NYC. 

Since Hammond discovered Dylan, and Springsteen was playing acoustic guitar for Hammond, and there were a lot of words in Springsteen’s songs, is it any wonder how the “New Dylan” label got slapped on his forehead?

Instead, Springsteen became known, with the E Street Band behind him, for  the best live rock and roll concerts – argue if you want – of the era.  Blending music styles of every decade since the 1950’s, conquering multiple genres (rock, pop, gospel, folk, tc…) and doing it while flat-out rocking out, nobody has ever done a better, more  thrilling job than Springsteen. 

This week, he played a  three hour, 40-minute show in Italy.   Non-stop. He is 62 years old.  No breaks.  And he did it in front of  more than 80,000 people in a huge soccer stadium. 

 And you want one more?  I believe this Wrecking Ball tour is his most fun, most intense, best-sounding trek since The River Tour in 1980/81.  And there have been a lot of good tours since then.  (1984 arena leg, 1999 Reunion Tour and even Working on A Dream tour with the loose setlists).  While the addition of the horns, the subtle use of background singers, and 17 people  making the E Street sound would seemingly to change what his shows feel  like, it has somehow made it better.  And while the sound is altered, it is absolutely more powerful and built to make arenas and stadiums feel more intimate – something they have proven adept at for more than 25 years.

So we note June 9, 1972 for the signing of the contract, and we note today, because Springsteen  continues to rock – watch the evidence on YouTube.

VIDEO – 1972 at the Gaslight Club (audition/showcase)

VIDEO: San Sebastian, Spain / June 2, 2012 – with the “rare” hat version of “Spirit in the Night”, done in full-blown 70’s R&B style.

VIDEO: “Ramrod” – Meadowlands -New Jersey-2012